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North Adams Spitzer Center Reopens After $800K Renovation
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:43AM / Friday, October 28, 2022
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Mayor Jennifer Macksey cuts the ribbon on the renovated Mary Spitzer Center with architect John McMillan, left, center Director Sandy Lamb, City Councilor Marie T. Harpin and state Rep. John Barrett III.

The automatic folding partition, center will allow the large room to be sectioned off as needed.

The cafeteria also features bright walls and new lighting and flooring.



The celebration included a luncheon in the expanded space.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The newly renovated Mary Spitzer Senior Center was celebrated on Thursday with a ribbon cutting and luncheon in the updated cafeteria.
 
"The city of North Adams, as you know, has always invested in our seniors. This opening is a true testament of this," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey after cutting a teal ribbon in the new meeting space with architect John McMillan, center Director Sandy Lamb, City Councilor Marie T. Harpin and state Rep. John Barrett III.
 
The 57-year-old building has a new roof, heating and ventilation system, electrical system, lighting, windows, floors, refurbished cafeteria and reading room and an automated folding partition to section off the enlarged events and meeting room.
 
The interior feels brighter and lighter and more expansive with the removal of a wall.
 
The work was done in two phases using $795,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds and $21,000 in city funds. The total was $809,000 over the past four years.
 
"This work allows us to have professional space, welcoming space, gathering space for our blessed asset in our community — our elders," said Macksey, who was accompanied by her 91-year-old mother, Teresa Macksey.
 
The mayor credited Michael Nuvallie, director of the Office of Community Development, for shepherding the funding and work through, as well prior administrations, Barrett, the state Department of Housing and Community Development, McMillan, general contractor Gene Kurtz, and the many people who worked on the staff.
 
"Mike had a steadfast commitment to this project, and has for many years. So we thank Michael for all of his efforts," she said. "He is the true champion behind this center."
 
It's the first time the center has had significant work done since its construction in 1975. It was named after Mary Spitzer in recognition of her work with the elderly over 25 years, including as chair of the Council on Aging at the time.
 
Spitzer, the wife of Dr. Maurice Spitzer, was president of the former North Adams Community Council in the early 1950s when she helped establish a number of groups for the city's seniors, including the Golden Age Club, the Retired Men's Club and, in 1964, the Council on Aging.
 
The City Council took "a special reading of the law," according to the North Adams Transcript, to name a building after someone still alive. 
 
Dozens of senior citizens attended the ribbon cutting and lined up for salads and sandwiches and cookies in the large gathering room. 
 
Board member Beth Wiggers, balancing plates on her way to the harvest-decorated cafeteria, said she liked being at the center. 
 
"I like it because I help Norman in the kitchen serving food and I like being able to do that and I like all the people who we are serving," she said. "I just thoroughly enjoy myself."
 
Between the pandemic and renovation, the center's been closed for 2 1/2 years, said Lamb. 
 
"The main thing was to get that wall taken down (between the meeting rooms)," she said. "Of course it was a load-bearing wall so it was an effort, but now we can have our exercise classes in both the rooms. And the central air conditioning was another big thing. We've had air conditioners in the windows since I've been here ...
 
"It was time for a refresher."
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